War in Gaza: offensive on Rafah will have disastrous consequences

Война в Газе: наступление на Рафах будет иметь катастрофические последствия

Many families in Rafah are building temporary shelters from scrap materials. War in Gaza: offensive on Rafah will have disastrous consequences Peace and Security

A full-scale Israeli military operation in Rafah, where more than a million Palestinians are sheltering, would have “dire humanitarian consequences,” the UN Senior Humanitarian Coordinator in Gaza said on Monday.

Sigrid Kaag reiterated the concerns of UN Secretary-General António Guterres that the current offensive could have catastrophic consequences for civilians.

“More than a million people live in Rafah. The city is not designed for millions of people sheltering in shelters and makeshift structures covered with sheets of plastic. The health status of people living in such conditions is alarming,” she told reporters in Brussels after a briefing with European Union foreign ministers.

She also expressed concern about the supply situation humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip and its distribution among those in need.

“We must recognize the fact that security conditions not associated with military action, namely the so-called “self-distribution” desperate civilians, as well as looting and crime, are hampering the efforts of the humanitarian community to get aid to the people who really need it,” she said.

Continued by the military actions

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Israeli air, land and sea bombing continues throughout the enclave, causing further civilian casualties, population displacement and destruction of civilian infrastructure.

There are also reports of large-scale ground operations and heavy fighting between Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups, particularly in Khan Younis and Deir el-Balah, according to OCHA.

According to the UN Office, between February 17 and 19, Palestinian groups launched dozens of rockets towards Israel.

Evacuation of Nasser Hospital

In addition, the Israeli operation continues at the Nasser hospital complex in Khan Yunis, OCHA said. The UN and the Palestinian Red Crescent Society evacuated 14 patients on Sunday.

Read also:

WHO: more than 350 attacks on health facilities in Gaza

More than 180 patients and 15 doctors and nurses remain in hospital, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Negotiations are underway to evacuate them.

“The hospital continues to experience severe shortages of food, essential medicines and oxygen. There is no running water or electricity, except for a backup generator serving some vital equipment,” the WHO said.

Violence in the West Bank

OCHA also reported further incidents in the West Bank over the weekend, resulting in the deaths of both Israelis and Palestinians.

On February 16, two Israelis were shot dead and four others, including a child, were wounded in southern Israel by a Palestinian from the Shufat refugee camp in East Jerusalem. The Palestinian was subsequently shot dead by an armed civilian.

On Sunday, Israeli forces killed two Palestinians in the Tulkarm refugee camp during a shootout with a man whose body was later restrained by the Israeli military.

The second fatality was an unarmed Palestinian who was reportedly standing on the roof of his house and was killed by an Israeli army sniper, OCHA said.

Between October 7 and February 18, in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and Israel, 393 Palestinians, including 100 children, were killed and 4,511 Palestinians (699 children) were injured in violence associated with the conflict.

According to OCHA, 12 Israelis, including four soldiers, were killed and another 80 were wounded in similar incidents during the same period in these areas.

International Court for the Occupation of Palestine

Meanwhile, the International Court of Justice in The Hague is holding hearings on an advisory opinion on the legal consequences arising from of Israeli policies and actions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.

In December 2022, the UN General Assembly requested an advisory—non-binding—opinion on the occupation.

More than 50 countries and groups, including the State of Palestine, will participate in the hearings, which will last until February 26th.


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